The COVID-19 outbreak shows that infectious diseases don’t respect national borders. A global health emergency demands a global response, and so this is a vital moment to work in partnership with developing countries, investing in robust health systems to ensure access to health for all, as well as to help develop global resilience to future disease outbreaks.
As we try to remain safe here in the UK, we see rises in COVID-19 cases in countries with far weaker health systems than our own, especially in Africa, and more people are likely to become infected and die where hospitals and emergency systems are unable to cope or simply aren’t there. As well as protecting the UK public directly, the Government must vigorously support the COVID-19 response in poorer countries by helping to strengthen their health systems.
The UK has a strong track record supporting global health, such as last year’s funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria; its support for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; and for its leading role in R&D into global health, including its recent financial pledge to the search for a COVID-19 vaccine.
New Secretary of State for International Development Anne-Marie Trevelyan has a big role in continuing the UK’s leadership on global health. This month, when we’re all intensely concerned for the safety of people right across the globe, we’re asking RESULTS advocates to collaborate virtually to write group letters to the Secretary of State, encouraging her to lead the UK’s efforts to help build stronger health systems around the world.